The Bridal Rain Portrait

Making the most of the English weather

Making the most of the English weather

This image was taken at a wedding on the 14th November 2015, and the weather was particularly foul.

My main aim was to ensure I lit as much rain as possible, and also provide an interesting composition for the two girls.
Behind the girls at a height of around four feet, there’s a Lencarta Atom 360Ws. This was married to the dedicated beauty dish but without the grid fitted. Bearing in mind I wanted maximum spill for a couple of reasons. Firstly to illuminate the rain, and also to provide a rim light to the girls and the ground either side.
If I had gridded the beauty dish, the light would have been reduced in output, it wouldn’t have spread enough for the full rim light on the girls, and nor would it have lit the rain to the same extent.
The output was set to ¼.

The key/fill light was provided by a Lencarta Safari II, mated to a 150cm folding octa with a honeycomb fitted. It was at a height of five feet and positioned camera left and a little further forward of my position. I was shooting from a crouched position to ensure I managed to get the reflection in the wet floor. The key light was also set to a ¼ output.

Olympus E-M1 1/10th sec ISO400 40-150mm f2.8 @f3.5 & 40mm

The slow shutter speed was to try and gain sufficient ambient light (a bit of a joke, TBH!), whilst trying to keep noise to a minimum with an ISO of 400

Things to bear in mind:

Use clear plastic bags for the light sources (An SB800 detonating in the rain will remove eyebrows far better than wax. Ask me about it sometime!)

Use something to weigh down or tether your lightstands. Umbrellas and softboxes make great parachutes, and will destroy your lighting gear in the slightest breeze.

Wear your waterproofs! Expensive suits look like any other collection of rags when you’re soaked to the skin. (yep, you can ask me about that too!)

Ensure your client has suitable weatherproof jackets. They can be taken off for the actual shot, but generally help to reduce the likelihood of a manslaughter charge.

My wedding work can be found at www.weddingsbymichael.co.uk

My commercial work is at www.sewellshouse.co.uk

 

 

 

 

Fashion Photography on Location

Adnan Bayyat GaGa Dress

Right at the end of October, I received a phone call out of the blue from renowned fashion designer Adnan Bayyat in Manchester. Basically, he was to both open and close the first day’s show at the London Fashion Week with Fashions Finest. His main issue was the fact he needed images of two collections ahead of the show to capitalise on this opportunity. Apparently Adnan already had everything in place, right up to the point where his photographer pulled the plug and let him down. Not just with the photography, but also the locations and models were withdrawn too. We had less than a week to get everything in place, and due to the time restraints, it would all need to be shot in one day. Read more

Commercial Photography, Blackpool

Rachel_001

This was another assignment for Rachel Mason, educator at Alan Howard Training, and all round good egg. And as usual, Rachel gave me a scanty outline as to what we would be doing (“Just a few shots in Blackpool…”), which bore little resemblance to my unfolding day!

So, being told I would photograph a couple of models in Blackpool, I of course dressed accordingly. I did not dress to go skipping across the wet sand of Bispham beach! Nor was I suitably equipped to run the two minute mile when the tide came in!

I think Rachel just likes to make me suffer 🙁

ok, less of the self pity and more of the images. This first image features Jack Dalby, and is technically only the lighting test, hence the balloon. However, the lighting was spot on, and I liked the result. In all honesty, I don’t expect anything from the first fifteen minutes of a shoot, as it can take a little while for a model and photographer to settle into a routine together, and for them both to understand the aims of the brief, and what is expected. I’ve found Jack to settle in quicker than most, and again on this occasion, I actually got a keeper with the very first shot of the day.

I had metered the ambient, and then effectively underexposed the scene by a stop (EV-1.0).

My main light came from a Lencarta Atom 180, firing through a folding 90cm Octa camera left with an output of ½ power.

I also had two speedlights camera right, again both set to ½ power and basically only firing through a stofen type diffuser. Why a stofen? (yes, I can hear all you folks bemoaning the waste of light and power yadda yadda yadda!) For one, it spills the light to the foreground, and also gives me a visual indicator the speedlight has fired if it’s side on to me.

Nikon D4 1/250th sec ISO 100 24-70mm f9

Rachel_004

The lights remained where they were, but I had taken a few steps to my right, to include more of the cloud cover in my frame. This time I wanted to reduce the ambient further, and resorted to using the Lencarta Mach 1n transceivers, allowing me to use a shutter sync speed of 1/1250th sec, and the darker background is quite obvious. This produces a bright spot within the frame, where Jack literally pops from the image. The Atom and speedlights had to fire on full power to sync using the Mach 1n.

Nikon D4 1/1250th sec ISO 100 24-70mm f8

Rachel_006

Meet Kayleigh Jo Daffern, a lovely young lady who’s worked with Rachel and I before. Here the lighting remains the same, although moved slightly in towards Kayleigh, as the framing will be a little tighter. Again, the Lencarta Mach 1n was used to raise the sync speed.

Nikon D4 1/1250th sec ISO 100 24-70mm f8

www.sewellshouse.co.uk

The Hair Game

AlanHoward2

Some of you may recall a good friend of mine, Rachel Mason, Educator at Alan Howard Training. Rachel has worked on several shoots with me before, including the cover for the 2013 Lencarta catalogue.

Anyway, Rachel asked me to go along to a training event, where a new hair colouring system was to be launched. Take a few headshots, a few of the entertainment and training, and that’s it. Easy Peasy!

Well, I’ve known Rachel a long time, and it’s rarely been exactly as planned. It’s always bigger and far more complicated 🙂    And guess what?, this turned out to be no different. I arrived an hour early, just in case I needed a bit more time. Which of course turned out to mean I had no time at all! As I arrived, they were in the final throws of rehearsal, and Rachel wanted the head shots doing as soon as possible. No worries, just point me in the direction of the spare room you promised, and I’ll get on with it.

Erm………. what room?

I was given a space five feet by five feet, with two deeply padded and multicoloured walls. Now, I could actually stand just outside the allocated five by five feet, because there was a rail that governed one side of my designated area, a table for the second barrier, and of course the two walls.

Meh!

Well, we work with what we’re given, and I was given a very interesting wall 🙂

For the background, I used a manual speedlight (Yongnuo YN560 II) at a ¼ output, and placed so as to fire across the wall, skimming it. I had to flag it, to prevent any light contamination of my main subject.

Immediately above the background light, I placed a second gridded speedlight facing towards the subject. This provided the accent light seen frame left.

Finally, the main light was provided by a Lencarta Atom 180, firing through a 90cm folding Octa at just above head height and just camera right.

Nikon D3 1/125th sec ISO200 24-70mm f8

AlanHoward1

This second image was taken in the same manner

Nikon D3 1/125th sec ISO200 24-70mm f8

AlanHoward3

And the same again 🙂

Nikon D3 1/125th sec ISO200 24-70mm f8

1 2 3 6